by Andy Dunaway / Stars and Stripes
CAMP GREAVES ó When U.S. soldiers pressed into Hitlerís mountain hideaway near the end of World War II, they found jewels beyond comprehension.
Hitlerís grounds in Berchtesgarden on the Austria and Germany border were rife with liquor, fancy cars and weapons.
Allied soldiers ó including the French and British ó were both clamoring to be the first inside his lair.
It was Easy Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment ó part of the 101st Airborne Division ó who made it there first and plundered the spoils, sampling Hitlerís stash of food and booze. That same unit, 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry, has been stationed in South Korea since 1987 along the Demilitarized Zone.
Easy Companyís trials, which included D-Day action and bursting into Hitlerís home, are the subject of a 10-part HBO miniseries produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg. Based on the book Band of Brothers by Stephen E. Ambrose, the series has been broadcast the last two months in the United States and will be shown on American Forces Network on Nov. 12.
The recipe ...
In the true boozing spirit that followed Easy Companyís romp through Hitlerís house, a celebratory recipe was created for the Sink Grail, a trophy crafted by the unitís soldiers. The silver trophy cup was made of melted goblets and flatware from Hitlerís private dining room. The recipe comes from an old memo published at Fort Campbell, at one time home of the 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment headquarters.
Recipe for the Sink Grail
1. One bottle of pure moonshine from the hills of Northeast Georgia near Camp Toccoa, the birthplace of the regiment.
2. Two bottles of Calvados from the historic wine cellars of Normandy.
3. One bottle of swamp water wrung from Col. Sinkís socks after dropping into the swamps of the River Douve, behind the beach of Normandy.
4. One rusty can of Bom-e-Bom beer.
5. One bottle of Belgian white wine mixed with a beer of dubious descent from a house near Bastogne.
6. Two bottle of sekt from Hitlerís cellars on the Ober Salzberg.
7. One bottle of French champagne strained through a black silk stocking and funneled through a toeless black spike-heeled shoe.
8. Brandy from the hip flask of Wehrmacht General Tolsdorff, captured at Bad Gesten, Austria.
9. One bottle of Absorbine Jr., left over from the latest 25-mile road march.
ó Jeremy Kirk
But missing from Ambroseís book is how soldiers fashioned a lasting memorial to their wartime successes, a prize that remains in South Korea today with the unitís descendants.
Berchtesgarden, Ambrose writes, was a center for top-ranking Nazis, and many had homes in the area to be closer to Hitler. The area was full of war loot, including massive wine collections, art treasures, gold and money, Ambrose wrote.
Under the guidance of Col. Robert Sink, the companyís men encountered little German resistance and entered what Ambrose describes as a "fairy-tale land" with snow-capped mountains. Many of Hitlerís service people and soldiers still occupied the buildings but didnít oppose the soldiers.
What proceeded next was an orgy of looting that saw soldiers take Hitlerís photo albums, guns, and luxury cars used by Nazi commanders.
From Hitlerís private dining room, soldiers took silver goblets and flatware and part of a table leg. They melted the goblets and crafted a trophy, commemorating the unitís activation.
The trophyís handles are from a regiment T-7 parachute. Mounted on the front are Sinkís original jump wings. Sink graduated from West Point in 1927 and commanded the unit until the 101st was deactivated in 1945 in France.
The trophy, known as the "Sink Grail," remains at Camp Greaves with the infantrymen who carry on the unitís legacy.
"This is like our most prized possession," said Maj. Thomas E. Hiebert, battalion executive officer. "Itís pretty special."
Hiebert has the receipt from when the trophy was sent from the museum at Fort Campbell, Ky., in 1987. While the Sink Grail has remained in the battalionís careful hands over the years, Hiebert said plans are under way to display it in a case in one of the campís renovated dining halls.
Maj. Tom Hiebert holds the "Sink Grail." [Stars 'n Stripes photo]
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